b'SAFE SHELTERFOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORSVictims of domestic violence often face a hardasherlandlord,hadunlawfullyevictedher choice: they can stay with their abusers or flee,without a fair hearing in housing court. oftenwithveryfewbelongingsorresources.Indefendingagainstthisclaim,Mintzargued Frequently, the one factor that weighs in favorthat the shelter resident was not a tenant under of fleeing the abuse is knowing that they haveNew York law. Mintz also argued that even if sheWorking with somewhere to go where theyll be safe. were a tenant, there is a conflict between theEllen and Narges In New York City, people in crisis can turn toNewYorkSocialServicesLaw,whichpermitswas a valuable anetworkofsheltersprovidingtemporaryresidentstoremaininemergencysheltersfor emergency housing. Like other organizations inonly90dayspluslimitedextensions,andtheexperience. Their this system, Womankind provides safe harbor toNewYorkRealPropertyLaw,whichrequireswillingness to learn women and children desperate for a place to stay.landlordstoprovidetenantswithdueprocessthe intricacies of the Bylaw,shelterresidentscanremaininpriortoeviction.Compliancewiththelatter emergencyunitsforupto90dayswhiletheylawwouldtakeasubstantialamountoftimeemergency shelter worktowardachievingself-sufficiencyandaandwouldevisceratetheemergencysheltersystem was truly morepermanenthome.Regulationsallowforsystem. If you have to go to court and obtain extensions,butthoseextensionsarestrictlya fair hearing before you can ask a resident toappreciated. They limited so that other women in need can availvacate her room, you effectively lose the abilitywereresponsive themselves of Womankinds emergency shelter. to provide emergency shelter. You have to give victims time to recover and find more permanentand detail-oriented, Attheendofher90-daystay,aresidentathousing, and then transition them out to makewhich ultimately Womankindssheltersoughtandreceivedroom for others, Narges said. supported our twoextensions.SherefusedtoworkwithherToenableWomankindtocontinuetoprovide counselorsandadvocatestofindpermanentemergencyshelterforitsvulnerableclientele,ability to have a housing, and then refused to leave the sheltertheMintzteamhadtoprovidesignificantpositive outcome onceherextensionswereexhausted.Instead,legalassistanceinterviewingtheshelters the resident attempted legal maneuvers to resistfor this case.leaving, which made it difficult for Womankindstaff,speakingtogovernmentagencyofficials, to continue providing services to others. Thatsanddraftingabriefforthecourt.Inall,theALENA VICTOR, LMSWwhen Mintzs Ellen Shapiro and Narges Kakalia,MintzteamwenttocourtsixtimestodefendDirector, Residential Womankindagainstthisresidentsallegations,ProgramswhoalsoservesonWomankindsboardoftraveling from Mintzs Manhattan office to theWomankinddirectors, stepped in to defend Womankind. housing court in Queens, where Ellen presented Atfirst,theresidentretaliatedagainstthe first oral argument of her career. The judge Womankinds attempts to transition her out byruled in Womankinds favor. filinglegalactionallegingthatWomankindsIwassohappytousemyskillstobenefit residence was dirty and unsanitary. That actionthewomenandchildrenwhodependon was quickly dismissed after the Department ofWomankind, Ellen said.Housing inspection found no violations. Theresidentthentriedanovelstrategy:sheThiswasapositiveoutcomefortheentire claimed that she was a tenant, and Womankind,emergency shelter system, Narges added. PERSPECTIVES // Mintz Pro Bono Journal 31'